Being Time Out London’s Events Editor during a year when in-person events were mostly forbidden or cancelled at the last minute has not been ideal. There were points in the first lockdown where I felt like a stubborn shop owner who refused to admit there was nothing but a Twix and a can of biona mixed beans on the shelf. I’d scrape together some ‘Things to Do this Week’ at a time when the only Things We Wanted To Do that Week were nap, stare into space and cry. I’d try and convince readers to expose their dry eyeballs to another few hours of blue light for an online pub quiz, or suggest, with thinly-veiled desperation, they try out an Insta Live baking class for the fifth time that month. They’re good quality mixed beans, what’s the problem? Just take the damn beans!
So when I say I am extremely happy to see London opening up again, to see the ‘events’ section of Facebook feature something other than a guided online meditation session, I really mean it. I’ve always believed that to have a really great weekend in London, you must include these five elements, in no particular order: a food thing, an art thing, a market thing, a performance thing and a pub/club thing.
The thought of making a full weekend of plans after all this time is enough to stun anyone into a state of inertia, that’s why I’m here, new and improved with a fully-stocked shop, to do it for you. To make our collective reintegration into society a little bit easier, I’ve narrowed my recommendations down to five very good things to do in London this weekend (including some online events), covering all those aforementioned elements. Here’s what made the cut.
RECOMMENDED: Find out what else is happening in London this month.
Indoor dining is back on May 17! Finally you can eat a restaurant meal without the wind blowing the menu into your face. Start booking now.
I know the words ‘pop-up’ usually indicate some awful brand event involving a dog photobooth or a pay-with-exercise cafe, but this temporary shop from the Museum of Youth Culture couldn’t be further removed from those kinds of marketing stunts. The Carnaby Street shop and exhibition space is a chance to see a small slice of the Museum’s collection, with zines, photographs and newspaper clippings charting over 100 years of UK subcultures. When I visited, music of all genres was blaring, which combined with the visual onslaught of mullets, mods, punks and emos plastered over the walls, made me feel like I’d been to 10 club nights in an afternoon. Find out more here.
I know this great little place in London, it’s called... the South Bank. It’s a little off the beaten track, just over the Golden Jubilee Bridge, past the graveyard of broken skateboards. Okay, it’s not the most original suggestion, but after spending months terrified of using public transport, I am overwhelmed with a need to experience the immense feeling of Londony-ness you get when standing on Queen’s Walk. Meet a friend by the big bust of Nelson Mandela, spend hours indecisively moving between the stalls at the food market, and inevitably end up with a takeaway pint and a crepe. Those cold concrete benches by the Thames have never looked so good.
Remember those elements I mentioned earlier? Well this one is a twofer, being both an art thing AND a market thing. The Art Car Boot Fair is a big eccentric car booty where some very famous artists sell their work in person. Only this ‘Flora and Fauna’ edition will be online, which means you won’t get to see the Boot’s regulars Gavin Turk, Jeremy Deller and Polly Morgan behind their stalls. Still, a major downside of the real-life Art Car Boot is that it gets so crowded, you normally miss out on the live events. That won’t be an issue for the virtual programme, where you can watch a live performance from Susie Hamilton, or take a life drawing class with designer Robert George Sanders and sound artist Samuel Loveless. You can buy art priced anywhere from £10-£5,000, or, if you’re a fool like me, spend £20 on a vintage-looking postcard of a cowboy. The cowboy is still on my shelf. I still don’t know if it’s art or not. Sat May 15-Sun May 17. Find out more here.
Nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks, you’d know what I’d liked to do today? Have a nice, organised rave where everyone arrives at the allotted time. But that’s where we’re at, and The Cause is getting us as close as we’re going to get to a big blow-out. Sub Merchants record label are taking over The Cause’s outdoor space Costa del Tottenham on Friday with a line up of DJ’s to make its multi-coloured terrace shake from 2pm-11pm. You have to pre-book a table of six (starts at £48), and arrive on time to get your welcome drink. There will be no dancefloor mania, but you’ll still get that lingering stereo-throb in your brain the next day. Fri May 14. Find out more here.